January 2011: I managed a rather sorry tally of a single session. I should be going this week, all being well, but as far as January went, I joined Shane Calton on a trip to Toft Newton Reservoir in North Lincs, in search of its large perch. This trout water is normally fly-only, but for a few weekends each winter they open up for “all methods” days, which allows anglers the rare chance to fish for the reservoir’s head of large coarse fish, which include some massive bream and roach, as well as the perch. We fished on the 23rd of January which, on the flatlands of Lincolnshire, was bitterly cold mainly due to a Northerly blasting us all day.
After a few drifts across the reservoir jigging lures, we were cold and biteless. Even my home made sloe gin only warmed us up briefly, so we anchored up in a more sheltered area and rotated between lure fishing and deadbaiting. Shane did have a run on his deadbait rig, which left teethmarks in the flank of the bait, but presumably it was a small fish, as the hook failed to connect. This was the only bite we had between us and despite trying various jigs and lures, we couldn’t provoke as much as a follow. None of the 10 or so other coarse anglers caught anything by fair means (by fair, I mean with a setup that was more likely to catch a roach, bream or perch, than a trout), but I did see a couple of people land trout (which had to be returned if caught on coarse gear) in desperation, fishing with floating pellet and a bubble float!
The potential for specimen coarse fish is there at Toft Newton, but as long as they – understandably, to conserve their trout stocks – only have the odd “all methods” weekends in deepest winter, it will always be hard-going unless we have a particular mild spell. For anyone wishing to try their hand, the venue is a concrete bowl reservoir with a maximum depth of 19 feet, some bottom weed growth and a 4-foot diameter pipe running out into the middle (which many perch are said to congregate around). The fly anglers all seemed to be catching, despite the cold and the record trout is an impressive 17lb. http://www.toftnewton.com/
News of my session this week (and hopefully my first fish of 2011) to follow soon…